Wednesday, 5 September 2012

X-Men #102-#103: "Maybe leprechauns don't believe in talking wolverines"

X-Men #102 has a great big superhero/supervillain fight, the sort we've not had in ages. You might expect (especially from the cover) Colossus/Juggernaut to be headlining this, but there's plenty of other action. Black Tom and Juggernaut ultimately subdue most of the X-Men, and we find out their plan - they've been hired by Erik the Red to take down the X-Men. Marko, of course, has the side-issue of wishing for revenge.

Storm is not much use in the fight, having started suffering an attack of claustrophobia in the end of #101. We get a long series of flashbacks for her. She was born in 1951 in Harlem, NY (making her supposed to be 25 at this point), to David Munroe, an African-American photo-journalist and N'Daré, a princess from Kenya. They move to Cairo when she was six months old, and then are killed in a plane crash related to the Suez crisis when she was five (unlike the other X-Men plane crash orphanings, this time they get hit by the plane rather than being in it). She survived, but the experience has scarred her. She then lived as a thief (becoming, we and the X-Men are told, the best thief in Cairo) until the age of 12, when she decided to walk south (by way of Sudan, I suppose) to the Serengeti (on the Kenya/Tanzania border), which she feels a strange attraction to.

Storm becomes therefore our first technical African-American X-Man (I think we end up having to wait for Cecilia Reyes for our first one who was actually brought up in contemporary America, which is shamefully late.)

Storm's discomfit is enough that Xavier can pick it up on the other side of the pond (interrupting an introduction to Jean's roommate, Misty Knight), but for some reason he thinks that sending Scott there immediately is going to help, like the battle will still be going on or something. Scott prefers to remain at Jean's bedside. In #101 he had started to re-evaluate life, realising that he'd got his priorities muddles, and Jean has to come before the X-Men. Xavier is unimpressed.

They didn't get Nightcrawler - he's a slippery customer - who is instead rescued by the Keep's leprechauns at the start of #103. Yes, leprechauns. Leprechauns that somehow know that Wolverine's name is "Mr. Logan", so they must be telepathic or well-informed! By this point, the Marvel Universe is taking the approach that all legends are true, especially the contradictory ones. Nightcrawler recovers and then goes on the offensive - using the image inducer to pretend to be Xavier and getting thrown through a wall for his trouble.

That gets Storm free to act, and so - round 2. This goes rather better for the X-Men, and we end with Black Tom taking a swim in the Atlantic, the Juggernaut going after him. We're told they look, but don't find any bodies.

Meanwhile, Erik the Red's been watching all this on a monitor, and reporting back to his boss. He means to kill Xavier and the X-Men before something (a ship?) can reach him, and this time they're going to pick an ally with a track record in failing to do that: Magneto! Is this all related to the dreams, perchance?

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